South Carolina Philharmonic


December 11, 2013

Beethoven's Fifth headlines major concert

Music history’s most famous first four notes headline an evening of headlines as the South Carolina Philharmonic returns to the Koger Center stage Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.

At the S.C. Phil’s annual Beethoven & Blue Jeans concert, sponsored by SCE&G, Music Director Morihiko Nakahara offers Midlands music lovers a rich program and an evening of headlines: a piano star, a world premiere composed by a Columbia favorite, and the work the world equates with the entire symphonic repertoire. 

Pianist Alessio Bax (right) appeared at the 2012 Southeastern Piano Festival, and a recent Brahms recital is winning him accolades around the world for his depth and brilliance. Bax returns to Columbia to begin the evening with a performance of the grand Brahms First Piano Concerto. His visit is sponsored by Rogers Townsend & Thomas, PC.

The audience is then treated to a world premiere commissioned by the S.C. Phil to mark its 50th season. The Passing Sun is the latest work by composer John Fitz Rogers (right) -- composition professor at USC, stalwart of Columbia’s arts scene, and friend of both Nakahara and the Philharmonic. It is the second of his works premiered by the orchestra. Fitz Rogers is sponsored in memory of Stephen Morrison by Gail & Gregory Morrison.

Its iconic first four notes render introduction unnecessary, but the Beethoven component of the concert comes via his instantly, if not universally, recognizable Fifth Symphony. That the work is a crowd favorite is a given, but the point was underscored locally in 2006 when the Midlands gave it a victory in an audience favorites contest used to decide which work out of ten nominees would complete the first concert of the season’s program.

Nakahara presents the popular pre-concert lecture series Classical Conversations at 6:30 p.m. in the Koger Center auditorium, offering unique insight into the evening’s program free to all ticket-holders.

Tickets are $53, $45, $35, $27 and $23. They are available online 24-hours a day at, or from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday by phone at 803.251.2222 or at the Koger Center Box Office at Park and Greene streets. Student and military discounts are available. Self-parking is $5 and Southern Valet provides valet parking for $10.

Returning for its fourth season, the SCP’s “Music for a Cause” initiative allows the SCP to help a diverse group of seven fellow non-profit organizations raise money and awareness for their causes. The partner for the Jan. 11th concert is Ronald McDonald House Charities of Columbia.
The mission of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Columbia is to create, find and support programs that directly improve the health and well being of children. Guiding us in our mission are our core values:
  • Focusing on the critical needs of children.
  • Celebrating the diversity of the programs we offer and the staff, volunteers and donors who make them possible.
  • Operating with accountability and transparency.
Pianist Alessio Bax is praised for creating “a ravishing listening experience” with his lyrical playing, insightful interpretations, and dazzling facility. First prize winner at the Leeds and Hamamatsu international piano competitions – and a 2009 Avery Fisher Career Grant recipient – he has appeared as soloist with over 100 orchestras, including the London and Royal Philharmonic orchestras, the Dallas and Houston symphonies, the NHK Symphony in Japan, the St. Petersburg Philharmonic with Yuri Temirkanov, and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra with Sir Simon Rattle.

During the 2013/2014 season, Bax returns to the Dallas Symphony under Jaap van Zweden at Bravo! Vail and in Dallas, and to the UK’s Southbank Sinfonia, with whom he recorded a pair of Mozart piano concertos. He also appears with conductor Hannu Lintu in Finland, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra under Hans Graf, the Berkeley Symphony, the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra, and as concerto soloist at the Grant Park Music Festival in Chicago. Recipient of Lincoln Center’s 2013 Martin E. Segal Award and the 2013 Andrew Wolf Chamber Music Award, he tours South America with violinist Joshua Bell, and returns to Lincoln Center for Chamber Music Society concerts, a Great Performers duo recital with pianist Lucille Chung, and a solo recital in a new Chamber Music Society series – in addition to solo recitals in Dallas and Tokyo. Bax and Chung also perform together in Washington, D.C., and in Hong Kong, Toronto, and on tour in Canada.

Fall marks the release of a dance-themed duo disc with Chung, presenting Stravinsky’s original four-hand version of the ballet Petrouchka along with Brahms waltzes and Piazzolla tangos. His acclaimed discography for Signum Classics includes Alessio Bax plays Mozart (Piano Concertos K. 491 and K. 595), Alessio Bax plays Brahms (Gramophone “Critic’s Choice”), Rachmaninov: Preludes and Melodies (American Record Guide “Critics’ Choice 2011”), and Bach Transcribed; and for Warner Classics, Baroque Reflections (Gramophone “Editor’s Choice”). He performed Beethoven’s “Hammerklavier” Sonata for maestro Daniel Barenboim in the PBS-TV documentary Barenboim on Beethoven: Masterclass, available as a DVD box set on the EMI label.

International festival appearances have encompassed London's International Piano Series (Queen Elizabeth Hall), Verbier in Switzerland, England's Aldeburgh and Bath festivals, and the Ruhr Klavier-Festival, Beethovenfest Bonn, and Schloss Elmau in Germany. He has performed recitals in major music halls around the world, in such cities as Rome, Madrid, Mexico City, Paris, London, Tel Aviv, Tokyo, Seoul, Hong Kong, and New York.

At age 14, Bax graduated with top honors from the conservatory of his hometown, Bari, Italy, and after further studies in Europe moved to the United States in 1994. A Steinway artist, he resides in New York City with his wife, pianist Lucille Chung.

Visit Bax online at

Media Contact

Jason Rapp, Communications Director (email)
(P) 803.771.7937   (F) 803.771.0268

2013/2014 guest artist photos and bios are available via

Pronunciation guide:
Alessio Bax: a-LAY-see-oh BACKS

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